The ability to sit down or stand up on our own is a critical component of physical independence. This is the reason why we believe squats must be a staple of every exercise program. In our opinion there is no other single exercise that could rival squats in its effectiveness for the lower body.
It’s been heard that Gordon Ramsay would ask any aspiring chef to cook him their best scrambled eggs. We’re not entirely sure why because it seems like such a simple dish, but there must be something more going on than us regular cooks would notice! As fitness professionals, the squat is to us what scrambled eggs is to Gordon Ramsay. Whether it’s a complete beginner or an experienced athlete, the ability to teach someone how to squat is an essential requirement of any aspiring exceptional fitness professional.
The ‘tripod’ foot
The demands of the squat cannot be emphasised enough. From hip and ankle mobility, to core stability and balance, there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. We’ve taught the squat countless times over the past couple of decades. What we’ve learned is:
1. Everybody is unique; therefore, we must have the knowledge to tailor it to the individual
2. Regardless of how experienced or inexperienced an individual is, there’s always room for improvement
3. A very, very underrated aspect of the squat is the feet
Dr. Aaron Horschig of Squat University had the following to say about the importance of the feet, “When we squat, we need the foot to be stable and maintain its natural arch. When we look at the main arch of our foot, we notice that it moves in relation to the rest of our lower body. If the ankles, knees and hips bow outward – the entire foot moves into a full arched position. When the ankle, knees and hips fall inward – the foot subsequently collapses and the arch flattens out … When we create a good arch in our foot, we inevitably form what we call a ‘tripod’ foot. The three points of the tripod consists of the heel, the base of the 1st toe and the base of the 5th toe. Our foot is basically like a three wheeled motorcycle. Our goal when squatting should be to maintain the arch of our feet and have our weight distributed evenly – like the three wheels of a motorcycle. If all of the wheels are in contact with the ground we get more power. If one wheel is off the ground or if the body bottoms out, power is lost and the motorcycle breaks down. When our foot is out of position (arch collapse) stability and power is lost.”
Positioning the feet
Another important aspect of the feet is positioning. When we squat the position of our feet will differ due to our individual anatomy. In textbook anatomy the femur attaches to the pelvis at a slightly forward angle. When the hips are angled more forward, it’s known as anteversion. When the hips are flatter, it’s knows as retroversion. With textbook anatomy or anteversion the toes are usually pointing forwards or slightly outward. With retroversion the toes are usually pointing at more of an outward angle, roughly 30 degrees. Understanding our own individual anatomy can have a dramatic effect on what feels most natural and how well we move when we squat.
The next time we’re squatting think about the ‘tripod’ foot and positioning them correctly.
Once we adopt a better position with our feet, a lot of the other movement problems we have will take care of themselves. The body naturally starts to assume better positions because it is now moving from a stable platform. In doing so, we not only improve movement quality but also decrease pain and improve our performance. This all starts with solidifying our base.
Thank you for reading this post
We truly hope that you found this post valuable. If you have any questions or if you’d like to work with one of our experienced personal trainers, please feel free to contact us